Well I Feel Like a Crummy Parent Now

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Hound dog, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Travis had to write a really long essay for his entrance exam for college. (a placement type test) This has always been his weakest point in school. So when he finished he did the usual of having someone proof read it for him. Since easy child is the best at this sort of thing and she was over for his birthday yesterday she did it.

    He did a superb job actually and it only needed a few minor corrections.

    The problem is that his subject was based on people's expectations of normal. And he wrote about how at one time he had given up on college or ever being what he'd always seen himself being as an adult because other people told him because of his disabilities it wasn't possible. And went on to explain how if you hear you're not capable of doing something enough times you begin to believe it.

    He didn't say it, but he was referring to me.:( I know because I outright asked him. And being Travis, lying or tactfulness has never been a strong suit.

    I never told him once he couldn't go to college. I did tell him once that I had no clue as to how to help him get the help he would need in order to go to college with supports in place. That's it, I swear.

    But he really believes I told him he couldn't do it.

    There is only 1 thing I've ever told the boy he could NOT do. Drive. And even this was after checking with every one I could possibly check with to be certain it was so.

    Travis often twists reality. So I suppose I really shouldn't let it get to me. Nor did he really talk about it in a mean or resentful sort of way. But it did hurt as I've always thought of myself as his number 1 supporter, pushing him to always do the very best he could do, even when docs said it couldn't be done.

    Then on top of it I've only recently learned he is not setting it up so that he can have a personal assistant or any special help in his classes. According to him the Disabilities office told him he had to have recent doctor reports stating his various disabilities as well as a copy of his school IEP. Well, he just simply can't afford to go to any docs. No insurance and no money. And I can't afford to pay for it either.

    So the kid is setting himself up to fail. ACK! And of course he won't listen to me so I've resolved to keep my mouth shut.

    Afterall he got this far all by himself..........maybe he'll do ok afterall, who knows.
  2. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Daisy, I think you are a lot like me, straight forward and honest. I don't mean anything I say in a mean way, but I will tell you the truth. I'm sure that you have always been truthful with Travis. You've pushed him---and sometimes that comes off as being bossy---lol---and may be interpreted as you are not doing it the right way---I know, we all know, how much you can championed for T. One day he will know it too.
  3. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'm so sorry, Lisa. I can see why you would be upset. He is not seeing beyond the nose on his face. He is hamstringing himself. Colleges do like to see students who overcome adversity, but not at the expense of those who tried to help them. Especially their parents. They know that students need their parents, even if Travis doesn't know it.
  4. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911


    You know I think a lot of times we tell our kids you can't to keep them from being hurt further. Often in the past years I've had to stop myself from saying something like that, and even if I don't let the words come out of my mouth the "you can't" aura is there and Dude is able to pick up on that quicker than anything else. Which is sad because if he could pick up on my "OH NO" aura regarding his behaviors he could have saved us both a lot of heart ache.

    The local paper ran a video of the graduating class that Dude was to be part of today. I clicked on it JUST to see, imagine Dude and his family being there. I saw a Mom fixing a collar on a boys shirt, looked at the other kids in the video and thought MY GOSH Dude doesn't look that mature. Then I saw all the smiling faces for a long, hard job well-done and I had to turn it off. See, I never thought Dude could graduate. I know he's smart enough - but he can't sit still long enough to get any real value out of a class room. It's one thing I've never told him he couldn't do - and still encourage him to go to the adult ed classes for a GED - but he won't. It's even part of his probation and he just can't bring himself to go anymore. He'd rather work. He says he's happier working.

    So there's my guilty little crummy parent moment of the week for you. See at least Travis graduated high school. I'm so proud of all the kids that have this year - and especially proud of the kids in our board family that have. But I gotta tell ya - it's the ONE thing that I wanted for Dude that I just knew he'd never do in time.

    So as Travis goes on to college - even after you thought he couldn't - let it be. Take it on faith that this is one of those "I'll show you Mom, moments." and when he graduates from college? You can admit it again that you didn't think he would - but ...who knows - maybe you thinking what you said was being a crummy parent...and maybe how Travis took it was the driving force to GET him into and keep him in college.

    There's always a different way of looking at things - and I'm hopeful that someday Dude will take that GED test and have that behind him too.

    Not such a crummy parent - really.

  5. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    I think my difficult child 1 felt that people thought she couldn't succeed, starting when she was held back in 2nd grade. We all told her it wasn't because she was dumb but other kids told her that was the reason and she believed them. Then, I thought we were really helping her by having lots of supports in place at school. She had an IEP for emotionally disturbed. Well, to her, Special Education meant she was stupid. It did not matter at all that all the adults around her told her she was very smart and that the supports were to help her emotionally. She had it in her mind that we thought she was stupid and couldn't do it.

    It wasn't til she went to a rehab and got her GED that she felt smart. She was so through with high school---she refused to work on her diploma but wanted to work on the GED. By that time her academic careeer was the last thing on my mind--I was only wanting her to get off drugs and alcohol. The GED was totally her idea and she worked very hard to get it. We stayed completely out of it except to give her kudos for the great job she was doing.

    This is long and rambling--I just want to say that my difficult child has been more capable than I thought she could be. She was so helpless around us but when she got out on her own she proved that she is able to take care of herself and she is proud of herself for that. Once she actually had to take charge of her life she proved she could do it and that gave her the confidence to keep going. She needed to be self-sufficient to gain confidence.

    Anyway, I think you have done a great job! Please don't be so hard on yourself!

  6. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    BM has consistently told both difficult children that they are stupid. Since husband got residential and subsequently full custody, we've been working on that - and both sets of grades have been slowly but surely improving. We tell them that with work they can do it.

    But even an unspoken thought can make a kid think it's their fault. So you're not a bad parent... You're normal. Which one of us hasn't messed up?!
  7. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    You know Lisa, so what if you did tell him he couldn't make it? When he was 16, 17, or 18 he probably couldn't. Travis is 23 now and has different skill sets than he did as a teenager and at 30 he'll have even more.

    I think I'd approach this as "look at how far you've come" and accentuate the positive, rather than beat yourself up about what you may or may not have said years ago. Besides, even if you told him a million times that he could do something, he'll always remember the one time you might have implied that he couldn't. It's the nature of the beast. ;)

  8. ML

    ML Guest

    Well heck whatever you did or didn't say pales in comparison to the fact that he is on his way! He's come so far and I say he'll go *all* the way, as far as he wants to go. You are a terrific mom and he knows you're in his corner and always will be.
  9. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    I agree that our kids are deaf to a thousand compliments and encouragements and but manage to hear and hold on to the few times we say something they think is critical. You can't control the way he perceives things. All you can do is continue to give your love and support, whether he succeeds or fails.

    He graduated. That's a good thing. Give yourself a hug for making it to this milestone. My difficult child 1 dropped out of community college last October after six weeks, couldnt' handle the architecture and CAD classes that were prerequisites to her major in interior design. It was too much for her after the pampering of a therapeutic day school. She worked part time instead and is now taking an English class at the same college, planning to go back full time in the fall.

    A step forward, a step back, then a step forward again. I wish your son the best of luck. And don't stew over this another minute.
  10. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Thanks guys. :)

    I've moved past it now. It just tugged at those Mommy heart strings when he said it, ya know?

    I'm so proud of the progress he's made in actually getting enrolled this year. easy child is taking him up for orientation and to get his housing straightened out on Monday. And I've taken her aside and suggested they make a stop at the disabilities office while they're at it.

    Personally, I would have felt more comfortable with him attempting a class or two at the community college first. But I've managed to keep my mouth shut. lol You never know with this kid. He could very well graduate in 4 years. Or he could come home in under two weeks totally overwhelmed. Hard to tell.

    But I have to give him that chance. Suz you're right. He's not where he was at 18 or even 20. Then he was no where near ready. Now, well he has as much chance as any 18 yr old going in. And he'll never know until he tries.

    Funny, but now that he's actually worked his way thru the enrollment process.......For the first time in many years I'm scared for him, worried how he will manage on a huge campus in a large city on his own. It's worse than when I sent him off to kindergarden. lol

    Raising difficult children certainly is never boring. :)